Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, NAU
My lab studies the connection between inflammation and cancer to develop novel immunotherapies against cancer. Inflammation is central to our fight against pathogens, but if not under control the resulting chronic inflammation can contribute to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. A link between chronic inflammation and cancer has long been suspected with studies showing that susceptibility to cancer increases when tissues are chronically inflamed and many solid tumors contain immune cells that are important in inflammation. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have a high risk of death from cancer - at least double the risk of the general population. My lab will use the K/BxN mice a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis and the mouse models of breast cancer and prostate cancer to study the role chronic inflammation during arthritis on tumor growth, migration and invasion. My lab is particularly interested in studying the role of innate immune players like monocytes in this setting of autoimmunity and cancer. In addition, my lab is interested in studying the interactions of innate immune cells with the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) components in the tumor microenvironment and its effect on their functions. Results from these studies will lead to novel immunotherapies to treat cancer. My lab will use in-vivo mouse models of autoimmunity and cancer, flow cytometry and in-vitro immunological assays.